
Do you remember
this Tootsie Pop commercial?
Similarly, when we
speak of the dice probabilities, table trends and systems, we speak of the
"short term" where most say anything can happen and the
"long term" where probability theory predicts that everything will be
mathematically as it should be. For now, let’s
ignore dice influencing as that further muddles this discussion. If I were to observe one million rolls of the dice
at a craps table, (actually, let’s make it one million and eight rolls so we can work
with whole numbers) dice probability theory tells us that the seven should appear 166,668
times. I would assume that the seven would
indeed appear statistically so close to that number such that the variance would be
insignificant. Most would agree, that one
million rolls would qualify for being “The Long Term.” (At 120 rolls/hour, a million rolls would
take over 347 days straight of observing dice rolls) O.K. Now let’s observe 100 rolls of the dice
(actually, 108 to again work with whole numbers). The
same probability theory tells us that the seven should appear 18 times. We’ve all observed 100 rolls of the
dice and we’ve all seen wild fluctuations from the predicted probabilities in that 50
minute timespan. In discussions on
newsgroups and message boards, there are those who say to throw out any discussion of the
House Advantage in your betting strategy because again, in the "short
term" anything can happen and the House Advantage will only affect you
in the “Long Term.”
On the flip side, there are those who are so married to the mathematics of craps,
that they can’t see PAST the House
Advantage. So, how long does
one have to play craps in order to be affected by the House Advantage? Like time itself, the “Long
Term” is an abstract. So then, the
question then becomes: Is every session at
the craps table mutually exclusive of other sessions, or is every session merely a
fraction of a lifetime total of sessions? And: What are the
implications of each of the possibilities? Like many things,
the answer lies somewhere in the gray middle ground.
If you view each session at the tables as an isolated period of time,
in all likelihood you will ignore the House Advantage and feel you have carte blanche to
make any crazy wager on the table. Over
time, these BoomorBust players will occassionally have great nights at the table, but
more frequently they’ll leave their entire bankroll in the hands of the casino. On the other hand, if you live and die by the
mathematics of the game and the House Advantage, you’re likely to miss out on
opportunities that emerge at the table. So what’s a
craps player to do? Certainly as many of you
know from my previous articles, I lean toward the more prudent side of the scale. Certainly I don’t wear math blinders when I
play but I do let the House Advantage guide
me. For random rollers (nonprecision
shooters) I make an effort to stick to the more sensible wagers and strategies, even in
the "Short Term." No whacky bet the 7 progression systems, or
mathematical systems like Fibonacci, or Labouchere for me!
Because of this, and sound money management,
I have a pretty strong track record at the tables. Craps will always
be a “negative expectation” game of independent trials but a little respect for
the House Advantage and strong money management skills will
keep you at the tables longer in the “Short Term” and have “Long Term”
benefits for your bank account as well. If your table
strategy is NOT one where your wagers are the more prudent bets on the
table, at what point WILL you be affected by the House Advantage? Just like the Tootsie Pop,
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